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The Ongoing Vaccination Debate
Although experts and the majority of Americans maintain that refusing childhood vaccinations leaves everyone vulnerable to diseases that once existed on the other side, more more and more parents are opting out and for reasons such as:
Thinking that the scenes are unnecessary;
fear of health risks, autism in particular;
too much trouble;
Too many are given.
On that last point, truth be told, by the age of six, a child will be “burned” about 24 times – and that’s too many for concerned parents. That’s the truth, as Barbara Lee Fisher, president of the National Immunization Information Center, reports: “US health officials now recommend 69 doses of 16 vaccines for every child. ago.” That, alone, gives many people a break.
As for the fear, we have to go back to 1998 and the British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield. At the time, a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism was published in The Lancetand he spun from there.
It was largely overlooked that he had interviewed the parents of only 12 children, a research flaw that alienated him from those in the know. But that didn’t deter the media or the many parents who followed through on his findings – and so the damage was done. About the time, in 2010, when The Lancet he withdrew his paper and the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom revoked his medical licence, it was too late to undo the damage he had done.
Indeed, now often referred to as the “autism guru,” Wakefield still has a following.
Then there’s the celebrity factor with the likes of Jenny McCarthy, a former Playboy model who was also a co-host. Single out and gave advice as a columnist. In addition, on July 15 last year, she was hired as a co-host of The Viewgiving credence to her position that vaccines are linked to autism in children, including her now 11-year-old son.
HourJames Poniewozik called the move “abuse of the media.”
He then writes, “Vaccine scaremongering… spreads an empirically incorrect belief, disproved by study after study. as well as unprotected adults, by threatening the herd immunity we rely on to protect the larger population.”
Pushing back, too, is the jennymccarthybodycount site which displays the following data from June 3, 2007 to April 5, 2014:
# of preventable illnesses: 130,730
# of preventable deaths: 1,381
# of autism diagnoses scientifically linked to vaccines: 0
That should also give us a break.
Meanwhile, last year, in California alone, 14,921 preschoolers went unprotected; so far this year the states have seen 49 cases of measles. Meanwhile, more than 4.5% of kindergarteners in Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, and Vermont went unvaccinated for non-medical reasons. Such states are now considered “hotspots” of disease.
And the horror? This The United States today the headline says it all: “Deadly diseases on the rise: Outbreaks point to anti-vaccination trends.” In fact, according to the CDC:
The number of measles cases jumped from 55 in 2012 to 189 in 2013.
So far this year, 49 cases of measles have been reported in California alone.
So far this year, 115 cases of measles have been reported across the country.
In 2012, 24,231 cases of whooping cough were reported across the country.
In 2012, 480 cases of meningitis were reported – and also 75 deaths as a result.
Measles is estimated to kill 3 times more people now than it did in 2009.
Despite these growing trends, reality TV host Kristin Cavallari says not vaccinating is “the best decision” for her children. Meanwhile, Kim Hart, a mother of two in California goes so far as to say, “As a parent, I’d rather treat my kids with measles or mumps and sit with them in hospital… than taking your chances. shot and with irreversible consequences.”
That, of course, is an interesting take on the subject because going unprotected can also have lasting and dire consequences. Take, for example, Jeremiah Mitchell who, at six, was stricken with meningitis. Yes, he survived, but only because doctors had amputated his arms and legs, along with parts of his eyelids, jaw, and ears.
Regarding measles, says Anne Schuchat, director of immunization and respiratory diseases at the CDC: “We really don’t want a child to die from measles, but it’s almost inevitable. “
Remember: At one time, measles killed about 450 children each year.
And who is most vulnerable? Children too young to be vaccinated, children with compromised immune systems, and those who have not been vaccinated for medical reasons. Also at risk: Children of people like Ms. Cavallari who chose to keep their children unprotected.
At the same time, vaccines are vital for us adults, too – for our own sake and for that “herd” we come into contact with in our daily lives. Topping the essential list:
Annual flu shot
TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria & pertussis) – one-time shot even after a tetanus booster in the last 10 years
HPV (human papillomavirus) – a one-time series of 3 shots: 2 shots, 4 to 8 weeks apart, and a booster 6 months later.
Hepatitis Ba one time series of 3 shots: 2 shots 4 weeks apart & booster 6 months later.
Bottom line: Get all your kids’ photos and then add yourself to that vaccination to-do list. No regrets.
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